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by Kim Densham reporting for AFANA from Melbourne

The Tradition of the LONG Walk continues. A journey that started with an idea and a single step, back on 21 November 2004, with Essendon legend and Aboriginal superstar Michael Long undertaking a journey on foot from his home in Melbourne to the nation's capitol, Canberra, continued on a crisp fall day in Melbourne. Michael was also a champion for the Indigenous cause in the AFL. Making a stand against racial abuse, following an on-field incident, asserting that;"racism has no place in sport". Ultimately this led to Michael being one of the pioneering forces behind the racial abuse code that was adopted by the AFL. Michael carried a petition to the then-Prime Minister, John Howard, about the plight, suffering and conditions of Australia's indigenous peoples. The Long Walk also began its mission with the aim of raising Australians' awareness and understanding of the talents and contribution offered by Indigenous Australians. See the full story:  http://www.thelongwalk.com.au/About/Our-Story"

Another step in "The Long Walk" is the short yet highly symbolic walk from Melbourne's Federation square to the MCG, reminding Australian's of the contribution to the AFL game made by Aboriginals. A theme , as Michael put it; "This is not about White Australia or Indigenous Australia - this is about ALL Australia... and about creating Unity". A concert drew the people to Federation Square and shortly after the commemorative walk began. At the MCG the crowd had gathered - the scene was set with Aboriginal Art in three giant circles and as representatives filed onto the ground and the stadium lights dimmed, the yellow and red ( colors of the Aboriginal Flag ) glow sticks were lit to the haunting sounds of a Didgeridoo, creating a fiery scene as the crowd swayed to the music. This was followed by Aboriginal Dancers and the singing of a specially written tribute song featuring Australian music legend,Paul Kelly, called "From little things, big things grow'. The on-stage line up also featured former Midnight Oils front man, now government minister - Peter Garrett. As the smoke from the ceremony drifted off the field, the two teams ran on to commence their warm up and then lined up to receive the a blessing in the Welcome to Country ceremony by an Elder of the Wurundjeri tribe who are the acknowledged traditional land custodians in this part of Australia.

Article last changed on Sunday, August 07, 2011 - 8:15 PM EDT


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